This article examines the leadership diversity in some of the top companies. This is not a deeply researched paper but a quick glance of the executive rosters of many companies to assess leadership diversity.
In the wake of the recent racial incidents, many corporate leaders have come forward with stinging rebukes of institutional and systemic racism.
It seems after being quiet for fear of offending the other side or just wanting to stay out of the social debates, the leaders of biggest corporations have raised their voices and come up with statements denouncing the racism that is pervasive across many institutions.
These are well-intentioned and well-meaning people, and we are not ascribing any cynical motives. However, before a level playing field emerges, there are foundational changes that need to occur in various spheres and reduce the gaps – education, opportunity, expectations, role models, aspirations, and social justice.
Besides, while the outrage of corporate America is commendable, it is the action that is lacking on many fronts. Words matter, but deeds impact more.
Let’s take some of the top corporations and the percentage of executives who are African American. (You will likely find more Asian-Americans and Indian-Americans on the executive rosters than African Americans and Latinos.) And in many cases, the roles that are reserved for African-American’s are head of diversity and inclusion and, on occasion, human resources roles.
Leadership Diversity: African-American Executives across Top Corporations
Google’s Leadership Diversity: https://craft.co/google/executives
Out of the sixteen executives listed on Google’s leadership team, there is no African-American.
LinkedIn’s erstwhile CEO and now Chairman Jeff Weiner is known for and has advocated compassionate leadership and leveling the networking opportunity. However, out of the nine members of the leadership team, there no African-American members.
Facebook lists seventeen members as executives, and the only leader of African-American descent is Maxine Williams, a Chief Diversity Officer – the token member. https://about.fb.com/media-gallery/executives/maxine-williams/
The networking giant CISCO leadership team comprises of sixteen executives, and none of them are African-American.
The pioneering technology company, whose current CEO is an Indian-American, lists seventeen executives as a part of the leadership team. Not one of them is black.
JP Morgan, the illustrious banking giant, with the industry doyenne Jaime Dimon at the helm, lists 17 executives, but again not one of them is an African-American.
Citigroup lists a fifteen-member leadership team and boasts one senior member from the African-American community. Mark Mason is perhaps one of the highest-ranking members of the black community in the financial services sector. https://www.citigroup.com/citi/about/leaders/mark-mason-bio.html
Procter and Gamble: https://us.pg.com/leadership-team/
The consumer product giants have a long list of 35 members on its leadership team. Given the long list, we can find two African-American members on the list. Monica Turner is an SVP of Sales. https://assets.ctfassets.net/oggad6svuzkv/2PJFvmPQhmTK18012gaXST/21149a5b7cd1fdc8b112837698dd2b55/Turner_Monica__pgbio_Jul2019_.pdf
And Damon Jones is listed as the Chief Communication Officer. https://assets.ctfassets.net/oggad6svuzkv/6vqdXZkdMUpuEEczrdBuzU/3695276343a835d81e025bbf44ed5b85/Jones_Damon__pgbio_April2020_.pdf
Amazon lists five members as officers of the company, and none of them are African-American.
This effort is not to disparage the companies that have come out in force against racism. We tend to believe their positive intent and desire for a color-blind society. Leadership diversity does not happen based on the affirmations of being an ally and denouncements of racist incidents.
But without action, the playing field will never be level. Of course, the companies may be putting in significant efforts to up their diversity quotient. But the pipeline of executives starts at the bottom rungs of the corporate ladder. And that entry-level jobs are dependent on quality education and lack of bias – implicit or explicit – in recruiting, training, nurturing, and promoting.
As a society and as a nation, we will need to make a concerted effort to even the education field, the expectations, the opportunities, and eliminating bias in various spheres of life.
Until then, the good intentions and angry reactions to incidents of institutional racism and systematic injustice are not going to make a dent on the ground reality to the lives of many African Americans.
Of course, this article only focused on leadership diversity and Black executives in top companies, and if we extend it to Latinos, it may yield a similar picture.